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Sandakan, Borneo: Day 8http://12miles-out.tumblr.com/post/619760773/sandakan-borneo-day-8
By SayLin Ong
Amanda’s arrived in Sandakan tonight. Shared with us some of her Mongolian experiences. Looking forward to the next few weeks working together, we’ll be helping Amanda settle down and assisting in her understanding of volunteering responsibilities here. It shouldn’t be much trouble at all given her good level of understanding animals as well as husbandry experience. The four of us will do great working and traveling together.
My cousin was near Sepilok this afternoon and took us out for an impromptu lunch. We took a quick visit to the nearby Crocodile Farm at Mile 8(distance from the town centre). It was more like a private zoo, a very dismal one at that. Its sad to hear from Wai Pak that there are places worst of than that. I shan’t go into the details of animal welfare there. This isn’t a form of avoidance, but I feel we should not be overly emotional at the same time. If we were to get disheartened and deeply affected by every setback witnessed, its going to hinder our full potential to make a difference. We accept that some things will not see an immediate improvement, learn from them, and continue doing the best we can to make a difference. Hopefully one day, some good will come to the animals I saw today.
It all boils down to education, and in order to make a real impact, it must not be on a micro scale. Little by little, the whole system of education has to change in order to produce people with more mature mindsets. Even in Singapore, people continue to watch dolphin shows and I’m certain a Whale Shark would attract just as many people. Maturity has to come at a societal level, maturity as a culture. Yes, our youths are a good place to start, but I have faith that adults are capable of changing their mindsets as well.
Its easier said than done, but not impossible.
a well thought through design.
The design of the BSBCC facility is worth mentioning. With a tight budget and an urgent need to relocate the Sun Bears to a better enclosure, Wong and co has managed to design a facility that is although humble, yet very effective and environmentally friendly.
Alternating translucent roof panels, letting in natural sunlight. I have a feeling the panels not just let light in, but in a way disperses the light. The facility is practically bright all the time in the day, even when the weather gets a bit dreary. Not sure how it’ll be when the rainy season comes though. This not only saves electricity but is arguably a healthier design. We should all be familiar how the weather affects our mood. Having a naturally bright environment would definitely reduce stress for the animals, an important advantage for captive animals. The well-ventilated area also prevents the facility from getting too warm.
While this system is not put to service yet, it is meant for waste treatment in the future. When the system is in place, it is supposed to treat waste and harness the methane gas by-product. Methane can then be transferred back to the facility to be used at the gas stove, fueling the cooking process for the tasty porridge the bears love!
Its great to know that while the sun bears have a good environment to live in while they prepare to be released into the wild, they are not increasing their carbon footprint. Ultimately, such benefits will cycle back and mean well for the lives of the Bornean Sun Bears.